Steven B. Wilson
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
The success of Homestead-Miami Speedway’s Ford Championship Weekend is a result of the support of many entities around South Florida. At this year’s event (Nov. 17-19), a total of 40 different local organizations contributed during NASCAR’s three-day championship tradition. Between Homestead-Miami Speedway and Americrown, a catering and concessions company which is also a subsidiary of International Speedway Corporation, more than $120,000 was donated to the organizations for their efforts in areas such as information centers, parking, grandstands, tram services, catering and concessions, among others.
In addition, Homestead-Miami Speedway’s charitable outreach program, Driving for a Cause, teamed up with two local charitable organizations – Camillus House and Special Olympics of South Florida – for a 50/50 raffle during this year’s Ford Championship Weekend. Collectively, the organizations earned more than $13,000 to benefit their non-profits.
During Ford Championship Weekend, Driving for a Cause awarded grants to local non-profits in the South Florida community for the fifth consecutive year. This year, more than $27,000 in grants were donated to five organizations that support youth development and philanthropic efforts. The 2017 grant winners are Girls Scouts of Tropical Florida, Voices for Children of Broward Country, FMU National Association of Black Journalists, Mexican American Council and Miami South BMX.
“Ford Championship Weekend is the culmination of all the hard work from our staff and our neighboring organizations,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “It’s encouraging to see volunteers give their time during the race, and we were proud to be able to partner with all of them.”
In addition to this year’s donations to volunteer organizations, Homestead-Miami Speedway donates more than $320,000 annually to dozens of South Florida organizations, including track rental opportunities throughout the year, an annual car wash, food drive, holiday toy drive and much more.
The following are the 40 volunteer organizations who will receive donations from Homestead-Miami Speedway and Americrown:
· Barry University- Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity
· Barry University- Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity
· Barry University Sports Medicine Club
· Cathedral of Praise
· Chief Petty Officers of Miami, Inc.
· Christian Motorcyclists Association
· Christopher Columbus High School
· Church of the Lord Jesus Christ
· Coral Reef High School- Barracuda Diamond Club
· Coral Reef Future Farmers of America State Association
· Daveon L. Hall Scholarship Fund (Miami)
· Florida International University ALPFA (Association of Latino Professional in Finance and Accounting)
· Florida International University Alternative Spring Break
· Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus Science Club
· Florida International University- Iota Phi Theta
· Florida International University- La Unidad Latina Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity
· Florida International University- Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity
· Florida International University SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)
· Florida Memorial University Baseball
· Friends and Family of 497 Scouts
· Homestead Senior High School Bronco Baseball Booster Club
· Laura C. Saunders Elementary Schools (Miami)
· Miami-Dade College- Curtain Call Theater Club
· Miami-Dade College- Phi Beta Lambda
· Miami Dade Police Department Explorer Post 157
· Outlaw Wrestling Club Inc.
· Redlands Christian Migrant Association
· Richmond-Perrine Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Miami)
· South Dade High School- Buccaneer Baseball Booster Club
· South Florida Lightning Wrestling Club
· South Florida Youth Symphony
· Southern Palm United Methodist Church- Cub Scout Pack 69
· Southwest Miami High School- Purple Pride Baseball
· St. Thomas University Women’s Softball Group
· TB Gymnastics Miami Booster Club, Inc.
· The Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Florida, St. Luke Lodge #530
· University of Central Florida Sports Business Club
· University of Miami Sports Ethics
· Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1427
· 305 Wrestling
Homestead-Miami Speedway Pr
John Hunter Nemechek to Compete in Multiple NASCAR XFINITY Series Races in 2018 for Chip Ganassi Racing12 Dec 2017
Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that they have signed John Hunter Nemechek, a five-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and former NASCAR NEXT driver, to pilot the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in multiple NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races in 2018. Nemechek, 20, will work with veteran NXS crew chief Mike Shiplett, who has led the team for the last four seasons. Nemechek’s No. 42 Chevrolet will carry primary sponsorship from Fire Alarm Services, Inc. in 2018.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
· Behind the Wheel:Nemechek began his racing career in quarter midgets at the age of five. He was the 2011 Allison Legacy Race Series Rookie of the Year and followed-up with the series championship in 2012. Nemechek moved into late models in 2013 and won the Miller Lite Super Late Model Series Championship at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway. He won three of the biggest Super Late Model races over the next two seasons including the famed All-American 400 in Nashville, Tenn., the Snowball Derby and Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
· Fully Covered: Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Fire Alarm Services, Inc., provides fire, life safety, and security services and products for protecting their client's real estate investment. They are the one source for all of their customers fire alarm, electrical, security, sprinkler, fire extinguisher and fire suppression needs.
· Making His Way Through NASCAR: Nemechek made his NCWTS debut in 2013 at Martinsville Speedway at just 16 years old. He competed in the NCWTS on a part-time basis in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Nemechek captured his first series victory at Chicagoland Speedway in 2015 and was also named the series’ Most Popular Driver. He moved to full-time driving duties in 2016 and 2017, where he qualified for the NCWTS playoffs in both seasons.In 76 starts, Nemechek has five wins, one pole, 22 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes. He finished eighth in the final points standings in both 2016 and 2017.
· Family Ties:John Hunter is the son of 1992 NXS Champion and multi-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) winner Joe Nemechek. Joe drove for CGR co-owner Felix Sabates’ SABCO Racing team from 1997-1999 and scored the team’s final MENCS victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 1999. John Hunter’s namesake is his late uncle, John Nemechek, who competed in the NCWTS from 1995-1997. He passed away due to complications from head injuries sustained in an accident during a 1997 NCWTS race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, just three months before John Hunter was born.
· Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing: “We are happy to have John Hunter join our organization and also announce the relationship with Fire Alarm Services. We had a very successful 2017 with our XFINITY program and look to improve upon that. We feel that John Hunter has the talent to be a future star in the sport and can’t wait to get him behind the wheel.”
· John Hunter Nemechek, Driver No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro: “I couldn’t be more excited to join Chip Ganassi Racing. I feel like their cars and organization were the talk of the garage in 2017 and I hope to play a part in continuing their run of success in 2018 and beyond. Also, Fire Alarm Services has been a supporter of my career since 2016 at our family-owned team, and I am looking forward to continuing that partnership at Chip Ganassi Racing. I am extremely grateful to Shannon and Connie Smith, owners of Fire Alarm Services, Inc. I also want to thank my father for all that he has done to help grow my passion for racing.”
Track Enterprises, a racing promotion company based in Macon, IL, has announced its 2018 special event schedule. The new slate includes the traditional stops for ARCA at the Illinois dirt miles, in addition to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis and a fourth year visit to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Track Enterprises added a fifth ARCA event last season, in Elko, MN, which makes a return to the schedule. This season, a sixth ARCA race will be promoted by the company at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, MO. Other series that are part of this year’s events include the USAC Silver Crown Series and Sprint Cars, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the Southern Super Series, the CARS Tour, World Of Outlaws, along with UMP Modifieds and Sportsman.
The first event of the season is a fourth year stop at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Saturday, April 7. The ARCA Racing Series will be on track for the Music City 200 plus a huge combo event for the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Southern Super Series, and the CARS Super Late Model tour. With ARCA as well as three of the best touring Super Late Model tours in the country, this is a can’t miss event in a fun destination city.
Next up will be "The Week Of Indy", a series of events promoted by Track Enterprises that were highly successful in 2016 but took a hit from Mother Nature this past season. It all begins on Wednesday, May 23 with the Tony Hulman Classic at the Terre Haute IN Action Track, featuring the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and UMP Modifieds. On Thursday, May 24, the annual Hoosier Hundred for the USAC Silver Crown cars is on tap at Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Joining the Champ Cars will be the UMP Modifieds for a $2,000 to win special event. Wrapping up "The Week Of Indy" for TEI, will be the Carb Night Classic at Lucas Oil Raceway, featuring the USAC Silver Crown cars and the USF2000/Pro Mazda combo.
On Friday, June 22, ARCA heads back to the St. Louis, MO area for the first time in 10 years. It will be the seventh time that the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has visited Gateway Motorsports Park but the first time since 2007, when the late Bryan Clauson claimed victory. 10-time ARCA champion, Frank Kimmel, has also found victory lane at the track. It's part of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekend at the track, with truck practice part of the Friday ARCA schedule.
In late June and early July, Track Enterprises’ officials turn their attention to three of the tracks that they promote on a weekly basis, Lincoln and Macon Speedways in Central Illinois as well as the Terre Haute Action Track in Indiana. On Friday, June 29, the Terre Haute Action Track is a stop for not only the Summer Nationals Hell Tour Late Models but also the World Of Outlaw Craftsman Late Models. Last year, the attempt at that event was rained out. On Sunday, July 1, the Summer Nationals, will be thrilling fans at the Lincoln Speedway ¼-mile, much like one season ago as the Late Models will be joined by Midgets and Modifieds. The series will then visit Mighty Macon Speedway on Thursday, July 5 for the Herald & Review 100.
Returning to the Track Enterprises schedule for the second straight year is the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Elko Speedway in Elko New Market, MN. The 2017 event was as exciting as it gets with drivers racing to the line four-wide, while crashing, vying for the top prize. New York's Christian Eckes claimed the victory in a photo finish. Brennan Poole, Frank Kimmel, and Grant Enfinger also have victories at the track. The 2018 edition of the race will be on Saturday, July 14.
Arguably the biggest event on the Track Enterprises season takes place on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19 at the Illinois State Fair. It’s the annual stop for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the USAC Silver Crown Series. The UMP Sportsman are back on for another season of racing at the fair. What makes the event so unique and exciting is the rarity of ARCA cars on dirt mixed with the excitement of the state fair.
The ARCA dirt theme continues two weeks later as the DuQuoin IL State Fair races are set for Sunday and Monday, September 2 and 3. Joining ARCA will be the USAC Silver Crown cars and UMP Modifieds. Racing at the Magic Mile was phenomenal, as always, in 2017.
Changing dates this year will be the Lucas Oil Raceway events leading up to the Brickyard 400 at IMS, moving from July to September. Track Enterprises will be hosting a couple of shows in town with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Friday, September 7. The USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars will run the Rich Vogler Classic the following night, Saturday, September 8 and will be joined by a new and unique event. That race will be the Speed51 Super Select, a race for winners in big Super Late Model events across the country. Event details with eligibility requirements, etc. will be released in the near future.
A new event to the Track Enterprises schedule will be held at the Terre Haute Action Track on Friday and Saturday, October 12-13. The Wabash Clash will see the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars on Friday, October 12 and the World Of Outlaw Craftsman Sprint Cars on Saturday, October 13. The DIRTcar UMP Scott's Custom Colors Modifieds will also be on track both days.
In addition to the special events listed above, Track Enterprises also promotes the full slates at Macon IL Speedway, Lincoln IL Speedway, and the Terre Haute IN Action Track.
Presale tickets will go on sale in the near future through the Track Enterprises office and online. Stay updated with Track Enterprises news and info at www.trackenterprises.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
2018 Special Event Schedule
Saturday, April 7-ARCA Music City 200 @ Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (Nashville, TN)
Wednesday, May 23-"Week Of Indy" Tony Hulman Classic @ Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Thursday, May 24-"Week Of Indy" Hoosier Hundred @ Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, IN)
Friday, May 25-"Week Of Indy" Carb Night Classic @ Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis, IN)
Friday, June 22-ARCA Racing Series @ Gateway Motorsports Park (Madison, IL)
Friday, June 29-Summer Nationals vs. WoO LM @ Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Sunday, July 1-Summer Nationals, Midgets, & Mods @ Lincoln Speedway (Lincoln, IL)
Thursday, July 5-Summer Nationals H&R 100 @ Macon Speedway (Macon, IL)
Saturday, July 14-ARCA Racing Series @ Elko Speedway (Elko, MN)
Saturday, August 18-USAC Silver Crown Series @ Illinois State Fair (Springfield, IL)
Sunday, August 19-ARCA Racing Series @ Illinois State Fair (Springfield, IL)
Sunday, September 2-USAC Silver Crown Series @ Du Quoin State Fair (Du Quoin, IL)
Monday, September 3-ARCA Racing Series @ Du Quoin State Fair (Du Quoin, IL)
Friday, September 7-ARCA Racing Series @ Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis, IN)
Saturday, September 8-USAC Silver Crown Series @ Lucas Oil Raceway (Indianapolis, IN)
Friday, October 12-USAC Sprint Cars Wabash Clash @ Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Saturday, October 13-WoO Sprint Cars Wabash Clash @ Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Track Enterprises PR
JAS Expedited Trucking, based in Imlay City, Mich., will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 01 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) entry driven by Miller in ten 2018 NXS events starting with the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, February 24, 2018.
“I’m looking forward to our partnership with JD Motorsports and Vinnie in 2018,” said CEO of JAS Expedited Trucking, Tony Freeland. “Currently, my company looking to hire several qualified truck drivers, and we’ve found that NASCAR is a great platform to get the word out.”
In addition to serving as primary sponsor of the No. 01 Chevrolet at Atlanta in February, JAS will also serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 01 entry in nine other NXS events including Miller’s NXS debut at his home track, Michigan International Speedway, on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
JAS will also serve as an associate sponsor of the JDM No. 01 entry driven by Miller for the other 23 NXS events in 2018.
“Being a Michigan based company, we like to support other Michigan companies and individuals from our state,” Freeland said. “Vinnie grew up just a few miles down the road from where I live. It’s cool to be working with a driver who gets what we are trying to achieve and has a passion for the state of Michigan.”
“Having a JAS come onboard for the 2018 season is awesome,” said driver of the No. 01 JAS Chevrolet, Vinnie Miller. “I’m proud to be from Michigan, and I’m even more proud to work with a company like JAS. They bring jobs to our state and are looking to add even more. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Tony and his team at JAS, and I’m looking forward to the future with them.”
|2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule|
|2/11||Daytona 500 Qualifying at |
Daytona International Speedway
|FOX||12 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|2/11||The Clash at |
Daytona International Speedway
|FS1||3 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|2/15||The Duel at |
Daytona International Speedway
|FS1||7 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|2/18||DAYTONA 500 at |
Daytona International Speedway
|FOX||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|2/25||Atlanta Motor Speedway||FOX||2 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|3/4||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||FOX||3:30 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|3/11||Phoenix Raceway||FOX||3:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|3/18||Auto Club Speedway||FOX||3:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|3/25||Martinsville Speedway||FS1||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|4/8||Texas Motor Speedway||FS1||2 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|4/15||Bristol Motor Speedway||FOX||2 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|4/21||Richmond International Raceway||FOX||6:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|4/29||Talladega Superspeedway||FOX||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|5/6||Dover International Speedway||FS1||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|5/12||Kansas Speedway||FS1||8 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|5/19||Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open at |
Charlotte Motor Speedway
|FS1||6 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|5/19||Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at |
Charlotte Motor Speedway
|FS1||8 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|5/27||Charlotte Motor Speedway||FOX||6 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|6/3||Pocono Raceway||FS1||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|6/10||Michigan International Speedway||FOX||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|6/24||Sonoma Raceway||FS1||3 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|7/1||Chicagoland Speedway||NBCSN||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|7/7||Daytona International Speedway||NBC||7 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|7/14||Kentucky Speedway||NBCSN||7:30 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|7/22||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||NBCSN||2 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|7/29||Pocono Raceway||NBCSN||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|8/5||Watkins Glen International||NBC||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|8/12||Michigan International Speedway||NBCSN||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|8/18||Bristol Motor Speedway||NBCSN||7:30 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|9/2||Darlington Raceway||NBCSN||6 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|9/9||Indianapolis Motor Speedway||NBCSN||2 p.m. ET||IMS/SiriusXM|
|9/16||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||NBCSN||3 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|9/22||Richmond International Raceway||NBCSN||7:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|9/30||Charlotte Motor Speedway||NBC||2 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|10/7||Dover International Speedway||NBCSN||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|10/14||Talladega Superspeedway||NBC||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|10/21||Kansas Speedway||NBC||2 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|10/28||Martinsville Speedway||NBCSN||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|11/4||Texas Motor Speedway||NBCSN||3 p.m. ET||PRN/SiriusXM|
|11/11||Phoenix Raceway||NBC||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|11/18||Homestead Miami Speedway||NBC||2:30 p.m. ET||MRN/SiriusXM|
|All times eastern. Subject to change.|
Henry County, the Racing College and Nelson Motorsports were all on display at the nation’s largest racing trade show in America, the Performance Racing Industry Show, over the weekend in Indianapolis.
One of Nelson Motorsports’ Late Model Stock cars was the centerpiece of ARBodies’ display at the PRI Show with Henry County and Patrick Henry Community College’s Racing College displayed prominently on the car.
PRI is a professional-only show, with each of the more than 50,000 in attendance employed in the racing industry. Most are buyers representing more than 1,000 companies from 70 countries and all 50 states.
Barry Nelson, owner of AutosbyNelson and Nelson Motorsports, said his onsite team handed out fliers about Henry County’s available business sites and the Racing College throughout the show.
“It was an honor for ARBodies to ask us to be there with the caliber of cars (on display). All the cars there had a good pedigree. But our car was the real deal, too,” said Nelson, who was at the show for two days and talked to many show attendees about what Henry County has to offer.
“People knew about Henry County because of Martinsville Speedway. Lots of people picked up fliers for the county’s business sites. On Friday, trade schools toured the show and lots of them picked up Racing College information.”
Nelson Motorsports maintains a stable of three Late Model Stock teams for drivers Timothy Peters, Bobby McCarty and Brandon Pierce and has developed a reputation throughout the southeast for fast, beautiful and winning cars. Peters won the nation’s biggest Late Model race, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway earlier this fall while McCarty scored a win in another premier event, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway, in August.
“The PRI Show is the biggest business event in the country for motorsports and we are proud to be a small part of it,” said Henry County Administrator Tim Hall. “With Henry County’s available business sites and our long history of motorsports, we ae perfectly situated for the PRI market and the businesses represented there. We thank Barry Nelson and his team for including us.”
Greg Hodges, vice president for academic and student success services at Patrick Henry Community Colllege, agreed with Hall.
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards graduate Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) will join Niece Motorsports (@NieceMotorsport) and contend for Rookie of the Year honors next season, piloting the No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) beginning with the Feb. 16 running of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
The 2018 season will mark Fontaine’s first full season of competition in the NCWTS.
He made the announcement live on SiriusXM Satellite Radio NASCAR channel 90 during The Morning Drive with hosts Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone.
“This is an exciting time in my career and I believe I’m ready for this next challenge with Niece Motorsports,” said Fontaine, a native of Asheville, N.C.
“I know I have a lot to learn, but with the leadership of Niece Motorsports and the support of my management team at AM Racing, I believe I can transition well and produce some good results in my rookie season.”
Fontaine, the cousin of NCWTS driver Chris Fontaine has three NCWTS starts to his credit, including one in 2017 for Niece Motorsports at Chicagoland Speedway.
To date, his best NCWTS finish came in his season debut at Pocono Raceway in Aug., where he earned a 15th-place finish.
The 20-year-old made his NCWTS debut in the fall of Oct. 2016 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
In addition to his NCWTS experience, Fontaine ran a partial ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season in 2017 for AM Racing’s development partner Win-Tron Racing.
Despite being injured in the open race of the ARCA Racing Series season, Fontaine only missed five races before returning to the tour in June at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, where he earned a solid 11th place finish. Overall, he picked up a career-best finish of ninth at the high-banks of Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and ended the year with a top-10 on the 1.5-mile track of Kentucky Speedway in the penultimate event of the season.
Fontaine started his racing career in 2008. With success in quarter midgets, he carefully moved up the racing ladder, competing in various racing divisions until his path led him to competing in Late Models across the Northeast in 2014.
From there, the North Carolinian moved into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2016, shifting his concentration to ARCA and Trucks the following year.
Marketing partners and a crew chief for Fontaine will be named at a later date.
The marketing partnerships will be managed by AM Racing, as part of Fontaine’s management group, but hosted by Niece Motorsports.
“We are thrilled to have Justin join the team next season,” said team owner Al Niece. “In speaking with Justin, his excitement for the 2018 season is contagious.
“As a group we are really looking forward to getting this season started. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we have a solid group who’s ready to hit the ground running.”
Niece Motorsports PR
The first two dates NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Recruitment Days were a resounding success: no less than 80 drivers coming from all over the world and with the most disparate backgrounds took the wheel of a Euro NASCAR car in four days and were all impressed by the fantastic “Pure Racing” feeling of driving the cars that bring NASCAR to Europe. Selected drivers will receive financial help for their 2018 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Four NWES cars flawlessly underwent a total of over 120 hours of intense testing, confirming the car’s excellent reputation for reliability and maintenance and many special guests joined the tests both in France and Italy to have fun driving Euro NASCAR. NASCAR legend Bobby Labonte drove in France, while in Italy Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, motorcycling icon Marco Melandri, WTCC driver Kris Richard and Italian TV commentator Guido Meda all had a taste of the NWES car.
Thirteen countries were represented in the two test meetings. Among the 80 drivers attending the tests and featuring the most different backgrounds, 2016 FIA European Touring Car Cup champion Kris Richard flew in straight from Qatar after finish 6th in WTCC’s last round of the season, 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup Winner Jean Glorieux, Bathurst 12h winner Wolfgang Reip, TCR driver Mathieu Detry and endurance driver Maxime Pampel joined from Belgium, while Pegasus Racing team owner Julien Schell and GT driver Romain Monti represented France. V8 Thunder Champion Alexander Graff joined from Sweden, while from Italy came 2013 Auto GP champion Vittorio Ghirelli and 2014 Euro V8 Series champion Francesco Sini, from the Netherlands GT and touring car top driver Loris Hezemans, from South Africa F4 driver Stuart White, from the UK 19-yo Ginetta driver Alex Sedgwick and from Ireland karting talent Ross Hayes. Three drivers with NASCAR experience flew straight from the US: Max Tullman, Will Rodgers and Nicolas Hamman. All of them found an immediate similarity between the cars they drove in the States and their European counterparts, adapting quickly and consistently posting fast laps.
The drivers participating in the NWES Recruitment program also received advice from some of the protagonists of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series: two-time points runner-up Frederic Gabillon and 2010 champion Lucas Lasserre attended the French date, while two-time champion Anthony Kumpen and 2015 ELITE 2 Champion Gianmarco Ercoli visited in Italy.
The drivers selected for the next step in the NWES Recruitment Program after the first two tests will be announced in the upcoming weeks and will receive financial help for their 2018 Euro NASCAR season from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and its partners.
Quotes from the track
BOBBY LABONTE - “It was great to be back behind the wheel of a NWES car to know more about it and work on shaving off the last tenth of a second to be more competitive if I’ll have the chance to race again,” said Labonte, who in 2017 took part in the Brands Hatch weekend finishing in the top-10. “I was impressed with everybody that I talked to while I was there and took the time to ask me questions. I tried to give them the best advice that I could and everybody was super nice and very appreciative.”
DANIIL KVYAT - “It was good fun! My friend Alex Caffi asked me if I wanted to have some fun and try something new so I took the opportunity. I immediately had good confidence with the car and it’s good fun to drive it,” said Kvyat, who is focused on his Formula 1 career and took the test as an opportunity to drive something completely new for him. “I really enjoyed myself today. The car is easy to handle and has nice reactivity in the chicanes. It’s very nice and easy and funny.”
MARCO MELANDRI - “I always loved cars and when I have this kind of opportunities I like to take them. These cars are like social networks: unfiltered. It’s just you, the engine, the gearbox, the steering wheel and the pedals. It’s just you making a difference and it’s very funny, it’s like a big go-kart.”
KRIS RICHARD - “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect it. You go out and you can immediately handle it easily with the throttle. The back is coming a little bit on the exit and you can catch it. You can go on the kerbs The gear shifting is perfect. There’s the right amount of power and torque. I love it!”
GUIDO MEDA - “It’s awesome. I think this is the perfect car to let people understand what it means to drive doing things with your hands and feet. There’s nothing between you and the car and it becomes an extension of you and the American V8 sound further adds to it. I would never stop driving it!”
FREDERIC GABILLON - “There was a very interesting mix of young talents and experienced drivers and they all loved the car. It is a very positive initiative to let as many drivers as possible to experience what it means to be in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and I am very happy to have helped new drivers learn the car.”
ANTHONY KUMPEN - “This program is a great initiative. New drivers are getting to know Euro NASCAR. I talked to a lot of them and they are all astonished by how good the car drives and I’m sure we’ll see many of them on the grid in 2018.”
NICOLAS HAMMANN - “The car is a blast to drive, even in this cold conditions. It is very well balanced and responsive, you can carry good speed in the corners. I really enjoyed driving it and I had a lot of fun!”
WILL RODGERS - “We put down some very good laps. I’m getting more and more comfortable in the car and I’m having a lot of fun. I love driving these cars, There are differences with what we drive in the US but it works very well. I can imagine the racing is spectacular so I’m really looking forward to do some races next year.”
MAX TULLMAN - “It’s a lot like a late model, but on a road course and it’s a lot of fun. I like The car balance is perfect, it feels light and reactive and it’s a lot of fun even in very cold weather. I think the fact it can run 3 seasons on an engine and a gearbox makes it really attractive for teams and drivers.”
NASCAR Euro Series PR
Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, Midland, A Thousand Horses, 38 Special, Frankie Ballard, Colt Ford, David Nail, Craig Campbell, Michael Ray, Runaway June, High Valley, DJ Dirty and many more are set for the third annual Country 500 – The Great American Music Fest at Daytona, to be held May 25, 26 & 27, 2018, organizers announced today. Daytona International Speedway, the “World Center of Racing,” will again become the World Center of Entertainment over Memorial Day weekend. Country 500 attracted 75,000 country music loving fans from across North America to Daytona for last year’s celebration.
"Daytona Beach, Florida welcomes you to the third annual Country 500 Music Festival. As always, the festival features the very best in country music, with Toby, Chris and Dierks leading the way, plus dozens more great artists, making Country 500 the first big event of the summer. Nothing but a party; bring your best fun on over!" said Festival Producer Quint Davis.
Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said, “The Country 500 is one of the most popular and anticipated music festivals of the year. The 2018 edition will once again feature a star-studded lineup of artists behind one of sport’s most iconic backdrops. We’re looking forward to welcoming music fans from all over the globe to Daytona International Speedway on Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the unofficial summer kickoff. The festival is a great opportunity to experience fantastic country music and enjoy the fun-filled atmosphere Daytona International Speedway continues to deliver.”
Three-day weekend passes, VIP packages, camping and travel packages are on sale now through Country500.com. Fans should plan to take advantage of the special early-bird pricing ($185) for 3-day weekend general admission passes available now through January 23. In addition, guests that purchase their Country 500 tickets prior to Dec. 31 can also take advantage of the payment plan (50 percent at time of purchase and 50 percent due March 1).
Country 500 festivities are spread over three days and nights of the holiday weekend, with music programmed on two performance stages, the massive Country 500 Stage as well as the more intimate Bluebird Theater tent. One of the biggest thrills of Country 500 is the ability to camp in the famed infield. Fans will once again be offered a full-range of camping opportunities for virtually any budget, from tent camping to paved RV spots with full water and power hookups. Country 500 also offers travel packages for a hassle-free way to enjoy the festival. Travel packages include hotel accommodations, roundtrip transportation to the festival grounds and official t-shirts plus festival admission. Visit Country500.com for information.
For a special Country 500 experience, take advantage of one of three VIP packages offered in 2018: the VIP Pit Pass, the Crew Chief VIP Experience or the brand new SUPER Crew Chief VIP Experience (see attached for details). The VIP packages offer a premium weekend experience at three distinct price levels, along with a convenient payment plan option if needed. All packages allow for an exclusive upfront viewing area at the main Country 500 Stage where fans are close enough to touch the stage. All VIP passholders are able to take advantage of the exclusive main stage “VIP Oasis” featuring VIP-only bars with premium food and beverages for purchase, comfortable seating areas as well as shade, air-conditioned restrooms, phone charging stations, complimentary massages, Wi-Fi, a private merchandise stand and misting stations. The new SUPER Crew Chief VIP Experience allows complimentary beer, wine and alcohol throughout the entire festival weekend plus golf cart transportation between the Country 500 Stage and the Bluebird Theater. Passholders will also be allowed seamless entry from the VIP Oasis into the VIP viewing areas at the Country 500 Stage. For VIP benefits, camping information, festival details and flexible payment plan options, call 1-844-500-FEST or visit Country500.com
Fans at the festival will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of their favorite country stars at artist meet-and-greets located throughout pit road and the garages. The meet and greet area proves to be a highlight for many patrons as the intimacy of meeting the artists creates lasting memories. Numerous other features—a select festival menu sold from food booths and food trucks; carnival rides; arcade games; cooling water elements; country-and-western merchandise; and more—will all be a part of the festival, as Country 500 once again transforms one of racing’s most iconic venues into country music heaven.
Visit Country500.com or call 1-844-500-FEST for tickets, camping, parking, and other festival information. Make sure to sign up on the Country 500 mailing list and get all the festival info as it becomes available. Customizable travel packages, on-site lodging opportunities and hotel information are also available at Country500.com.
Stay connected with Country 500 on Facebook, Country500.com on the web and #Country500 on Twitter.
Sponsors of Country 500 include Budweiser, Monster Energy, Toyota, and Maui Jim.
AEG Presents and Festival Productions, Inc. – New Orleans are partnering with Daytona International Speedway to produce the Country 500.